Ian Bicking: the old part of his blog

Re: Sun Comes Lately

Sun has a history of letting cool little language work go unnoticed.

15 years ago they had an entire windowing system with a built-in forth interpreter (NeWS) and let it die in favor of the whole X / open look / Motif mess. At the same time more or less completely ignored the cool perl and shell extensions that were going on (anyone remember windowed Ksh?).

They had a great scheme shell with all sorts of neat stuff but it languished and died at the same time MSFT was teaching the world to love VB and fostering an entire VB addon market. They did learn their marketing lession from that somewhat with Java while completely ignoring python. They had Tcl for a while but never did anything with it.

Now they are starting to notice python and ruby, which is good because at least the python and ruby developers have a good history of taking cool features from functional languages little by little. But where of all places is some of the best functional language work being done these days? Give you a hint (it's not Sun).

Comment on Sun Comes Lately

Comments:

Unlike MS, Sun makes $$$ from selling hardware. Unlike IBM, Sun doesn't/can't provide the whole solution to the customer. For years Sun nerver gets the application software right. Otherwise there won't be weblogic and websphere. When the Sun management has no vision on how to make money on application software(they are a hardware vendor), what you can expect that they can get the programming language right. Tim Bray is exceptional. He would have done lots of good to Sun if he's joined in 1998. I love /usr/sbin/dtrace and /usr/sfw/bin/python.

# Victor

15 years ago they had an entire windowing system with a built-in forth interpreter (NeWS) and let it die in favor of the whole X / open look / Motif mess.
See the wikipedia entry on possible reasons for the demise of NeWS. In short 1) X was established before NeWS, 2) NeWS required licensing from Sun, and 3) it practice it proved difficult to use.
# Andrew Dalke